Inbound marketing is the way in which many businesses choose to bring their brand and their customers together, and with very good reason. As the popularity and diversity of social media grows, more and more companies are coming around to the idea that the marketing techniques of yore are not going to cut it in 2015. This is not to say that the old ways are completely useless, but people are becoming more and more savvy to the impersonal nature of the large faceless corporation.
This means that businesses have to market themselves in a way that makes them appear more human and interact with their customers on a more personal level. Social media, blogs, podcasts and more are just some of the ways in which this can be achieved.
Blogs earn the trust of customers by providing regular, informative and (perhaps most importantly) free content for people to make use of. As a company becomes known for producing trustworthy content, customers are more likely to return time and time again and, as a result, more likely to avail themselves of their products and/or services. Social media on the other hand can be used to interact with customers directly and can do wonders for the customer service side of your business.
So, how do you elevate your brand awareness using these great new tools? Well, if you are new to the blogosphere or the network most social, then there are a few hacks you can use to give yourself a good starting run up and get you out of the gates in style. It’s all about increasing engagement you see. Increase the levels to which people engage with your content and their awareness of your brand will rise, leading to an increased understanding of what it is that you can do and provide for them.
So, please read on as we present our 10 hacks to elevate brand awareness.
Keep Them Reading
This hack is all about making the most of the space available to you when creating your content. You want to keep your reader engaged right up until the end of the article. Don’t give all of the important information away at the beginning of your posts but keep providing more and more titbits of information as you go through.
And why do want to keep them reading until the end of your article? Well, you want them to engage with it don’t you? Pure click-throughs are not enough to elevate anyone’s awareness of anything. You want people to like, comment on and share your articles, so you want them to get to the part of the page where those functions are. You are also likely to have links to other articles from your blog at the bottom of the page, so making sure people get there is a good way to keep them reading your stuff and not looking elsewhere.
Make Them an Offer They Can’t Refuse
This one is all about enticing your prospects to convince them to engage with your content and your brand. There are millions of blogs (with businesses attached to them) out there all vying for the attention of your prospective customer. This means that you need to offer them something to convince them as to why they should be engaging with you and not them.
Offer discount codes for signing up to your newsletter. Or you could run competitions for things like the best comment on an article. Or, if you don’t have the time to devote to judging comments, then simply arrange a random prize draw for likes and shares instead.
Free is the Best Price
Everybody loves a freebie. Entice your prospective customers in with a free gift to get them interested. If you are willing to give stuff away for free then this will increase the trust people place in your brand and make them more likely to avail themselves of your paid products or services in the future.
It doesn’t have to cost you much/anything either. It could be a PDF guide or an online tool or app. The best free gifts are the sort that will give your customers a taster of the sorts of things that your company can offer them. Use it as a way of convincing them that they need your products to make their life better or easier in some way and then subtly guide them to where they can go to make a purchase.
The Less Effort, the Better
You want to show your prospective customers how easy your products and services are to use. As already discussed, the whole point of offering a product or service is to solve a problem in your customers’ lives (maybe even a problem that they weren’t aware existed) and to make them easier as a result.
You want to show your customers how little effort it takes to use your products and how it will make things simpler for them. You also want (if possible) to demonstrate how it doesn’t require any specialist knowledge or skill to make the most of it.
You want your customers to feel at ease with using your products or services, so make sure that your promotional efforts are focused around this idea.
Serialise to Optimise
Don’t deliver all of the content that you want to put across in a single article. You will increase engagement and awareness a lot more if you break it up into two or three separate parts and present them as a series.
Not only will this keep your customers coming back to your site for the next part, but it will also make the information significantly more salient to them. By spreading the information out over multiple instalments, you will help you readers to maintain concentration and increase the chances of the information sticking in their minds, which are all good things for your brand.
Remix to Remind
Remember that you are trying to fill your prospective customers’ heads with information that is relevant to your product. By the time they have finished reading all of your content they should be left with little doubt that they need what you are offering.
You can assist them in coming to this realisation, by remixing and reusing your content to help keep it at the forefront of their mind. This isn’t to say that you copy and paste the same information again and again however.
Instead, you want to be linking back to other articles that you have written on the same or related topics. You should also be summarising the points that you have made and keep reiterating the overarching point that you are putting across with your article.
A Publisher’s Mindset
Think like a publisher. You want to be constantly reminding your customers about what it is that you do without explicitly ramming your advertisements down their throats.
Write blogs; publish guides and even books if your business allows for it. For example, if you are selling food items, then you can publish recipe guides that use the unique ingredients that you sell. Oreo does this to great effect, with their Instagram account almost entirely devoted to recipes that use their signature cookies.
By adopting a publisher’s mindset rather than a marketer’s one, you will be able to market your brand – without looking like you are marketing your brand.
A Consistent Tone
You want to find a tone that will resonate with your target audience and stick to it.
Maybe your business and your products are aimed at the mass market and are suited to a light hearted and amusing tone – in which case this is what you should adopt. However, it could also be that your business is aimed at serious professionals who like the talking to be as straightforward and to the point as possible.
Identifying your buyer persona will help you to focus your efforts in an appropriate manner and ensure that you do not alienate the very people that you are attempting to attract.
Be Shareworthy, Not Yawnworthy
You need to make your content stand out from the crowd (and the internet is one heck of a crowd). You need to make sure that you are not simply doing what everyone else is doing, but instead offering something a bit more unique and eye-catching.
On the subject of eye-catching, it is no secret that the average online reader enjoys visual information. Leverage this preference by experimenting with other media such as pictures, videos and infographics. If you have never made an infographic before, they are very easy and there are a ton of free templates and tools available online for you to use.
Spend Money to Make Money
The organic reach of Facebook posts dropped significantly between February 2012 and March 2014. A drop from 16% to 6.51% (with recent research claiming a drop to around 2%) is not to be sniffed at and shows a worrying trend.
This means that it is crucial that you start investing a little money into targeting advertising on the social network. The days in which Facebook was a free resource that could be leveraged effectively by entrepreneurs are more or less behind us and if you want to make any headway on the big blue behemoth, then some collateral will be required.
Making headway on social networks without any investment isn’t impossible, but you’ll see better and more consistent results if you do stump up a little cash.
So, there you have our top ten hacks for elevating your brand awareness online. Please let us know if you use any of these and what successes (or failures) you have experienced and also let us know if you have discovered any great hacks that you’d like to add to the list.
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